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Homeward bound: Iowa State hosts Oklahoma State after long road trip

Hannah+Belanger+drives+the+ball+against+Kansas+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Jan.+3%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Hannah Belanger drives the ball against Kansas at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 3, 2023.

When the Iowa State women’s basketball team hits the court Wednesday night to play Oklahoma State, it will have been 18 days since they last played at Hilton Coliseum. That day, the Cyclones upset No. 4 Baylor in the midst of a snowstorm.

Since then, the Cyclones had trouble getting any traction going over the long road trip. Iowa State lost all three of its road games in that time, all by eight points or less, and grabbed a forfeit win over TCU in place of playing a home game.

The losses moved Iowa State from 5-0 in the conference to 6-3. Momentum has shifted the opposite direction even as the Cyclones are tied for fourth in the Big 12.

“After you’re 5-0, people don’t think 6-3 is very good. I get that, there’s a recency bias there,” Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said.

Because of the home game cancellation, the Cyclones had to play an unexpected three road games in a row. Now, Iowa State will be home to play in front of the Hilton crowd for the first time in a long time.

“What we’ve lacked is kind of that home court advantage, and just the atmosphere and the energy that the fans do bring us. Feeding off of that will be big for us” senior Hannah Belanger said.

Iowa State leads all Big 12 women’s basketball teams in attendance averaging over 9,000 fans per game, so the fans will likely show out to support the team. That support will be needed when an Oklahoma State team looking to get even with the Cyclones comes to town.

Oklahoma State is 4-5 in the Big 12 and has lost its past three games just like Iowa State. Both teams are on a losing streak, and one will end come Wednesday.

The past two games for Iowa State were both revenge games, with Kansas and West Virginia getting even with the Cyclones to split the series. The main difference was that the Cyclones were on the road for those, whereas they will be at home for the Oklahoma State rematch.

“It’s a huge week for us,” Fennelly said. “Maybe it’s our turn to have a little bit more of an edge, and that’s a good thing. Every so often as the schedule goes through, you’re gonna have moments like that.”

Freshman Arianna Jackson said last week felt long, with all of the traveling and road games. The added pressure of the competitive nature of the Big 12 makes every road game difficult.

“Any game in the Big 12 is going to be competitive. It does feel good to be back at home and back in front of our own fans,” Jackson said.

Jackson had her first breakout game of the season in the first game against Oklahoma State. Her four 3-pointers were a big difference maker in the game, where she finished with 14 points shooting 5-for-7 and 4-for-5 from the 3-point line.

Another big performance from Jackson may be what Iowa State needs to beat Oklahoma State again. The action begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and can be streamed live on ESPN+.

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